Expelled Uttarakhand minister for seeking two tickets: BJP
Harak Singh Rawat denied having asked for two tickets and added the party believed some social media reports of him joining Congress
DEHRADUN: Less than a month before the assembly elections, Uttarakhand minister Harak Singh Rawat was expelled from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) late on Sunday amid reports that he was planning to return to the Opposition Congress, which he quit in 2016.
The BJP leadership maintained the decision to expel Rawat was taken after he allegedly demanded a ticket for his daughter-in-law to contest from Lansdowne as well as Doiwala seat for himself. Harak Singh Rawat is a member of the assembly from Kotdwar while former chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat represents Doiwala.
Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said the demand for two tickets was totally against the BJP’s principle of one ticket, one family, which the party conveyed to him. “But he remained adamant, leading to this decision (expulsion).” Dhami said there will be no impact of the expulsion on the party. “There is no crack in the organisation. The party is united in the upcoming elections. But those who are not working as per the party norms will have to face such action as the discipline is foremost.”
BJP state in-charge Dushyant Kumar Gautam echoed Dhami. “The party has a clear principle of one ticket to one family. But Rawat despite being a senior leader of the party was adamant about two tickets. We clearly said it is not possible.” Gautam said the demand for another ticket apart from his own was also unacceptable. “He also approached the rivals. Hence, he was shown the door,” said Gautam.
Harak Singh Rawat denied having asked for two tickets. “The BJP leadership believed some social media reports of me joining Congress and expelled me in haste without verifying.” He added after taking the decision in haste, BJP was levelling false and baseless allegations. “I said that my daughter-in-law is doing good work in her constituency and if the leadership wants, it can give her ticket. When they cited the one ticket, one family principle, I said that I do not want to contest.”
He added he always sought development projects in his constituency. “I demanded a medical college for Kotdwar, a central school, good pay for nnganwadi workers, grade pay for police personnel which they never paid heed to. I never thought of my personal interests but party’s.”
He added he was in touch with Congress leaders. “(Congress) state president Ganesh Godiyal and leader of Opposition Pritam Singh called me up and asked about my future plans. But as of now, there are no talks about joining the party. Having said that, now after I am not in the BJP, if Congress wants, then I will work for it and help bring it to power.”
Godiyal said it was up to the Congress’s senior leadership to induct Harak Singh Rawat. “Even as we did not have a political relationship for the last five years but we have a personal one. He has not joined Congress but despite that, he was expelled by BJP whom he supported when it needed the most. He left Congress in 2016. He has now confessed that it was mistake,” said Godiyal.